LONGMONT — A 13-year-old Longmont boy was killed in a Sunday morning car accident in Minnesota, where he, his mother and his sister were on a layover awaiting a flight back to a blizzard-struck Denver.
R.C. McConnell, a student who just transferred from Mead Middle School to Longmont Academy about a month ago, had been vacationing on the East Coast with family and was stuck with his mother and sister in St. Paul when the accident happened.
His older sister, 17-year-old Victoria “Toria” McConnell, was in fair condition at Regions Hospital in St. Paul following the accident, according to the Associated Press. His mother, Mary McConnell, was listed in critical condition.
Jim McConnell of Longmont said Monday that he is going to Minnesota to see his family and said his son was a “great guy.”
He said the family ended up stuck in Minnesota because the Sunday blizzard forced Denver Intentional Airport flight cancellations.
Mary McConnell’s college roommate, Ann Ford Nelson, picked them up from the airport in Minnesota. Nelson, a prominent St. Paul business woman, also died in the single-vehicle accident.
The Associated Press reported that the car flipped and hit a tree just before 9 a.m.
Jim McConnell said he and his family moved to Longmont from Maryland about 31/2 years ago. R.C. was a Boy Scout.
Jim McConnell described R.C. as “a typical happy-go-lucky, very smart kid.”
Victoria McConnell is an honor-roll student at Skyline High School, where she is a cheerleader and is scheduled to graduate this year. She has plans to attend college.
R.C. was scheduled Monday night to earn his 1st Class Scout rank with Boy Scout Troop 65.
Jim McConnell said his son was a fan of video games, recently taking particular interest in the Star Wars series. R.C. also played the drums and was in the band at Mead Middle School.
“We were video game central here,” Jim McConnell said.
Mike Mitchell, R.C.’s scout leader, said the boy was well-liked, tended to be the last in hiking lines, and was both quiet and funny.
He said the rest of the troop would joke that the only way to wake him on camping trips would be to drag him out of the tent still wrapped in his sleeping bag.
“The kids loved him,” he said.
Mead Middle School Principal Keith Carmichael remembered his former student as well-liked and a hard worker.
Jim McConnell said he expects Victoria will be released from the hospital in Minnesota when he arrives there. He said his wife had surgery on her ankle and he isn’t sure when she would be released.